With All The Books Out There, Why Does The World Need Another?

Sometimes I lie awake at night terrified. No, it’s not scary clowns or crazed madmen that keep me awake. It’s not even Mr. Rubin’s breath. It’s books.

Or rather, the sheer number of books.

library stacks with sheldon

Pigs must be flying because Carrie finally photoshopped me. Not well, mind you, but it’s a start.

Why?

Recently I read that a “new Kindle book is added to Amazon every five minutes.”

I don’t know how accurate the statistic is, but the idea puts a lump in my throat. With all those books out there, who am I to add another?

Why bother?

Who will read it?

What’s the point?

What’s the meaning of life?

What’s…

Okay, maybe that’s over-dramatic, but you get the gist.

“Wait,” you argue. “The point of writing is enjoyment of the process, not having readers.”

Sure, sure, and the point of exercising is the delightful gasping, not the healthful benefits.

Man Working Out

Come on

Let’s be honest. We want readers. Certainly, writing itself brings joy, and stories and blog posts are fun to create. But with the amount of time and effort that goes into a book, most of us want someone to read it.

This post isn’t about marketing or how to get our books out there (or our photography, or artwork, or comics, or blogs). It’s not even about self-doubt. It’s about the fear of irrelevancy and futility. What’s the point of putting another product out there in an already glutted world?

Fortunately, I don’t wallow like this daily. Most times I think, “Hey, this book-writing thing is pretty cool.”

But other days my pragmatic self-nemesis takes over. “Hahaha, hehehe, yakyakyak, stop, Carrie, please, you’re killing me. Like you even stand a chance.”

cartoon man laughing

Do you worry about being redundant? Being swallowed into a sea of surplus? What keeps you up at night?

*     *     *

Rubin4Carrie Rubin is the author of The Seneca Scourgea medical thriller. For full bio, click here.

251 Responses to “With All The Books Out There, Why Does The World Need Another?”

  1. Gail

    This reminds me of people who question whether or not to have children because the world is over-populated. But we reproduce anyway. Why? Because that’s what we do and who we are. If you are a writer, you really have no choice but to write whether there are readers or not.

    P.S. You’re much too talented to even consider the “not.”

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Aw, thank you. That’s kind of you to say. And I agree–not writing would leave us wanting. Leave us feeling like something was missing. And as a reader, I love the endless number of books. Even though I can’t keep up with them!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. leamuse

    A great post Carrie! If we don’t laugh about it… There are few of us who don’t share those feelings and you do it so well, with humour.

    “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” – Ray Bradbury

    Like

  3. Zen A.

    When I first started writing, my friends would read all my stories. I was content with the knowledge that I had a little audience. Then I branched to fanfiction and I wasn’t satisfied until I received like 10 reviews per chapter (and I usually did receive a lot more than 10). Then I ventured once again into original fiction and actual publishing and I realised, “Boy is it going to be difficult to gain an audience here.” With fanfiction, the good authors immediately stand out, but in the publishing world almost everyone is good.

    That said, I still have a lot of fun writing. I feel like as long as I still have sense of fun, I shouldn’t stop writing, and yes, I do crave readers, but… well, as long as I have a few, I’m content!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      I think it’s our itch to write that lets us plow through even when the competition out there is so stiff. The alternative is not to tell stories, and I think many of us would feel something was missing from our lives if we chose that.

      Like

  4. talesfromthemotherland

    See what happens when I travel and can’t get on line? I don’t get to read some of my favorite blogs… for way too long! Catching up, on this gray day. Admittedly, Carrie, this is a thought that paralyzes me sometimes. Really. I know all the various perspectives, but it just stops me dead. (Well, that and a few other things! I’m my own worst enemy, in every arena). It’s reassuring to see that a writer I admire struggles with the same thoughts sometimes. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      ‘Paralyzes’ is a great word to use when describing the potential outcome of stressing over the abundance of books out there. If we think about it too much, we might just stop weaving our tales all together. But then we’d feel like something was missing, and hopefully that would be enough to get us writing again.

      Thanks, Dawn!

      Like

  5. te315502

    I thought this was a very relevant blog because I’m in the process of writing my book and I feel like how will it be set apart from the others. Ultimately, I would like to have millions of readers put their hand to the plow and read my work, but I know that just might not be the case.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Yes, we’re lucky if we get a handful of readers. But the alternative–not writing–is no fun to think about. 🙂

      Thanks for reading!

      Like

  6. michellejoycebond

    I recently looked at the top MFA programs in the country (just to look–current fantasy = returning to college) and found a list of the top 50–50 at JUST the top churning out book-writing graduates non-stop. I felt a little numb after that but agree that there’s a place in the world for every book (as long as a writer works hard and makes it his/her best effort–something from the heart!). I like to think too of all the niche audiences self-publishing and small presses are allowing writers to reach now. Pretty cool. 🙂

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      The publishing world has definitely changed. It’s a whole new writing world. Yes, that means more books out there, but as you point out, it may be easier to reach niche audiences, audiences that didn’t necessarily exist in a traditionally published world. But still, the overall numbers are a bit overwhelming…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dave

    No, not really. If I did I’d never even bother writing anything 🙂 But, since I also write short stories, I feel like I have a secondary route to follow where I might not get lost in the sea of potential readers. Of course, since my only hope is to write and have at least a few happy and loyal readers, I figure I might have a chance 🙂

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      That’s a good attitude to have about it. Most days I feel that way, too which is good. Otherwise, like you, I probably wouldn’t bother writing at all. 🙂

      Like

  8. Kourtney Heintz

    Discoverability is definitely a fear of mine. As an indie author it’s so hard to be discovered. There’s so many books out there. How do I get readers? That’s a question I constantly grapple with.

    Like

  9. Kate Johnston

    I’m not sure ‘too many books out there’ is really about quantity, but quality. I don’t think we have enough good ones, much less great ones. Do we need another well-written, compelling book by Carrie Rubin? Yes. Yes, we do.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Haha, well, thank you. I’m not sure where my books fall on that quality spectrum, but hopefully they’ll climb a little higher with each one. 🙂

      Like

  10. jennifer Windram

    This thought haunts me every day. And it should. And it’s exactly why I keep pushing myself to be better. You’ve got to find a way to stand out from the crowd!

    Like

  11. Your Moderate Mama

    This is so timely and has been internal struggle since starting my blog… does the world need another mama blogger???

    Why am I spending time I don’t have writing?
    Do I find that much enjoyment to spend said time?
    Is it okay if my blog is not successful in the eyes of the world?
    Is touching a handful of people a success?
    Is just finishing something a success?!!
    Do I even want to put in the time to be a popular blog?
    Am I lazy if the answer to that is “no”?

    I signed up for a 6 week blog writing course… why? I don’t know. .. feedback. .. curiosity. ..

    I might decide to make a go at being a paid writer. .. if I can find someone to give me their money!!

    But again… does the world need another “paid” mama writer… do I want to be her?

    Thanks Carrie for sucking my brain back into this madness… I’m going to go eat all the leftover pie now!!! 🙂 (it is nice to know I’m not alone in my mental insanity!)

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Haha, I think there are plenty of us sharing that mental-insanity pool.

      I guess it comes down to: what’s the alternative? Will you feel like something is missing if you don’t blog? I know I’d feel that way if I didn’t keep writing books. So I guess if that’s our mindset, the best we can do is try to make our work the best it can be. Hopefully that will be enough to bring readers to our yard. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. reneejohnsonwrites

    Writers have to write, so I’m just hoping there’s enough readers out there to enjoy our stories. In the meantime, I’ll also keep my day job — for now.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      I agree. Even though the number of books may seem overwhelming, the thought of not writing one brings me more angst than worrying about who’s going to read it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

      Like

  13. benzeknees

    You know, I do worry about being redundant – what if by the time I finally get finished with my book, someone else submits it to an agent the week before I do? What if all the good ideas are already taken? Is there really anything new to write about?

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Oh, I worry about that all the time–the fear that someone will publish a book very much like mine before I can get mine out. The patience required with writing is enormous.

      Like

  14. Pink Ninjabi

    Love your introspective look at possible poopy fears. You are special. You stand out from the crowd. And you just never know what might happen. But as Wayne Gretzky said, you miss 100% of the shots you never take. Just sayin. You’re amazing. That’s reason enough for me. 🙂

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Aw, thank you. Such nice warm fuzzies from you. 🙂 I like that concept of “you miss 100% of the shots you never take.” Very true. I’ll keep that in mind as I query my 2nd novel. Happy weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. raeme67

    I think all of us who write want readers. Writing for yourself is all well and good, but that is what diaries are for. Yes, there is lots of books which means their must be lots of readers. 🙂

    Like

  16. butimbeautiful

    Absolutely. If you can’t say something different, why say anything, in print at least? And yet I guess we’re all different so our books must be too. Maybe.

    Like

  17. wiseabundance

    Hoo boy, you touched a nerve here! I imagine most writers torture themselves this way. To you, and to them, I say, “Please keep writing. The world will ALWAYS need good books.”

    Like

  18. Denise Hisey

    Hey Carrie, that question definitely has crossed my mind too. One question I’ve been asked is “how is your book different than others?” Well, to be honest in some ways it isn’t. A story of family secrets, pain, forgiveness. Kind of generic, right? But then again, I can think of several books with that same general storyline and they are very different from each other and I’ve enjoyed them all.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      It seems pretty much everything has been done before. Consider all the medical thrillers out there. I doubt I can deliver something completely original (though I hope my second novel is somewhat of a new concept), but hopefully we can offer readers a new spin on things. As a reader, I love having so many books available (though I can’t ever keep up). It’s just more daunting as a writer. 🙂

      Like

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